Hi, I’m Sarah. A longtime cookbook reviewer and Happy Cow contributor, my food and travel writing has appeared in Mediterranean Living, Stars and Stripes Japan, Metropolis Magazine and Tokyo Weekender. 

 Mitsuhito Nakagawa Photo
Mitsuhito Nakagawa Photo

I have lived in five countries (US, Canada, Japan, Taiwan and Spain) and have taken over 100 cooking classes around the world. I also recipe test and proofread for upcoming cookbooks from a wide variety of international cuisines.

My particular area of interest is 精進料理 (shojin ryori), vegan Buddhist “devotion cuisine” that originally developed in Zen temples during the Kamakura Period. I have spent several years collecting cookbooks in various languages that explain the principles and art of shojin ryori as well as studied under several instructors (Mari Fujii, Kakuho Aoe, and Chef Daisuke Nomura of Daigo and Sougo). My goal is to share shojin ryori with a wider audience here in Japan and abroad by sharing shojin principles such as mindfulness, balance, harmony, seasonality, and minimal waste in the kitchen. 

 Vegan Sushi w/ Mock “egg” Made from Tofu
Vegan Sushi w/ Mock “egg” Made from Tofu

In my spare time, I am an avid photographer and love to travel. I have published numerous travel features for Stars and Stripes Japan and my photography has been featured by the Embassy of Japan in Canada as well as won second place in Michigan State University’s Global Focus photography contest.

I believe the best way to learn about culture is through cooking and sharing meals together, and I look forward to sharing some of my favorite ingredients, dishes, cookbooks, and chefs with BentoYa readers!

Recommended reading: 

Grandma’s Shojin Ryori (e-book), Akemi and Satsuki

Kansha (Elizabeth Andoh)

Shojin Ryori / Living Shojin Ryori (Danny Chu)

The Enlightened Kitchen: Fresh Vegetable Dishes from the Temples of Japan (Mari Fujii)

Japanese Cooking: Contemporary & Traditional (Miyoko Nishimoto Schinner)